Shaw Calls it a Career, Chicago Falls Further Behind, NHL Finds Second TV Home, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Shaw Calls it a Career, Chicago Falls Further Behind, NHL Finds Second TV Home, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Well yesterday was a busy day in the NHL world and the world of the Chicago Blackhawks. Andrew Shaw, a new TV deal, the playoff hunt, it was all happening. Now the Blackhawks face an eight-game stretch of the schedule to finish the season and play for pride, or maybe for draft lottery position.

•   For those living under a rock, Andrew Shaw announced the end of his playing career yesterday. Much like Brent Seabrook, Shaw is not “retiring” just yet. He has one year left under contract with the Blackhawks and will spend the 2021-22 season on LTIR as his deal runs out.

•   The out-pouring of love from former teammates and the fan bases of the Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens was a lot for Shaw and it was well deserved for a player who put so much of himself on the line, every night, for the sport.

•   And yes, lest we forget, Shaw played three seasons in Montreal, but he will forever be remembered as a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Blackhawks. A true legend of the modern Blackhawks dynasty era.

•   Now focusing on the immediate future, the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight for the final time this season. Chicago holds a 1-5-1 record agains the Lightning this season, having been outscored 30-15 in the process. If the Blackhawks win they will have a better season record against Tampa Bay than they would against the Nashville Predators. Even going to overtime and losing would tie the season record for Chicago between them and Tampa, as well as with Nashville, although Chicago has scored more goals against the Lightning this season. It’s a very odd feeling.

•   One thing that will be cool to see tonight from the Blackhawks is that tonight’s game against the Lightning will be Pride Night at the United Center.

•   As part of the Pride Night celebration, Blackhawks players will wear exclusive Pride-themed jerseys and use Pride Tape on their sticks during warmups, which will be auctioned-off to benefit local organizations that provide resources to the LGBTQ+ community or increase diversity in hockey including the Center on Halsted and the Chicago Gay Hockey Association (CGHA).

•   Maybe it would just be better to rip the band-aid off, lose, and get the playoff hopes officially in the ground for the 2021 season.

•   With wins by the Predators and Dallas Stars last night, the idle Blackhawks fall even further behind in the rearview mirror of the Central Division playoff chase.

•   We’ve talked about the Blackhawks playing as many rookies as possible over the final eight games. They will have more opportunities to do so with Calvin de Haan and Ryan Carpenter out for the foreseeable future.

•   Chicago has five of their final eight games at the United Center. It was mentioned by Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot recently that the possibility of having fans in the stands for Bulls and Blackhawks games could happen before the end of their seasons. On Monday, it appeared that tickets to Blackhawks games on Ticketmaster were available but a release date was yet to be announced…maybe it’s something, maybe it’s not. Something to keep your eyes on as the season comes to a close, even if the team is out of contention.

•   If you’re not going to see the Blackhawks in person, over the next seven years you will be able to see them on ESPN and on the various Turner Sports channels.

•   The new TV rights deal between ESPN and Turner Sports will double the NHL’s revenue from its previous TV deal with NBC, which was the home for the league for over a decade and a half. The networks will alternate Stanley Cup Final broadcasts, with ESPN getting four of them and the other three on TNT, while the Turner Sports’ networks will broadcast the Winter Classic in each of the seven seasons of the new deal.

•   Along with the marquee events, Turner sports will broadcast half of the Stanley Cup Playoffs every season, as well as 72 regular season games every year, and HBO Max will have streaming and simulcast capabilities.

•   The move to having multiple networks with TV rights for the NHL brings them into the 21st century of sports broadcasts as the NFL, NBA, and MLB all have multiple major networks with broadcasting rights. The wider range of coverage for the league is best for the NHL to grow and the increased revenue will eventually lead to increased salary caps and more financial flexibility for teams.

•   But as is the world of media, not all news is good news for everyone. NBC has been the home of the NHL for a very long time. There have been so many talented people in broadcasting that have come through working for the NHL and working for the NBC networks. The hope is that ESPN and Turner Sports are smart and grab many of those very talented people to work their new NHL coverage.

•   If ESPN and Turner are smart, they will do everything they can to showcase the stars of the league, namely Connor McDavid. One of the NHL’s most talented players ever deserves to become a household name in America. What he does is truly amazing and the fact that a lot of non-Hockey fans have never heard of him is a disservice to him and the league. Non-Hockey fans knew who Wayne Gretzky was. Non-NBA fans knew Michael Jordan and they know LeBron James. McDavid’s talent deserves to be on that level.

•   He’s a freak. He’s the fastest kid alive.

•   Before we close it out today, a double Blackhawks Birthday celebration today for Murray Bannerman and the late Keith Magnuson.

•   Blackhawks legends through and through.

•   That’ll do it for today, have yourselves a good Tuesday! We’ll see you tonight for Blackhawks and Lightning at 7:00 p.m. CT!



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.